Australian summers now a full month longer, says climate change report
From the Himalayas to the Arctic, global warming is making for longer and drier summer seasons with significant consequences to the landscape. Australia, which just experienced its hottest and driest year on record and was then ravaged by devastating bushfires at its end, is one telling example. A team of researchers taking stock of this alarming trend have crunched the numbers on the Australian summer’s current start and end points, finding that it now runs for one month longer than the mid-20th century benchmark.
The analysis was carried out by researchers at think tank the Australia Institute, who worked with temperature data from the Australian government’s Bureau of Meteorology. The researchers used the daily average temperatures from the mid-20th century, between 1950 and 1969, as a benchmark and compared that to the daily average temperatures between 1999 and 2018 to ascertain how climate change is affecting Australia’s seasons.
Within this, the team looked at the daily temperatures that mark the beginning of the different seasons, and found that across the country, all four of them are getting hotter. Over the past two decades, the team found that summer was an average of 31 full days longer than the benchmark, with the season arriving two weeks earlier and ending two weeks later. Winter, the team found, is also more than three weeks shorter.
The team also examined a more recent time period, between 2014 and 2018, and found an even more dramatic difference in seasonal shifts. The summers were on average almost 50 percent longer than they were midway through the 20th century, and around twice as long as winters in the same period.
“Temperatures which were considered a regular three month Summer in the 1950s, now span from early to mid-November all the way to mid-March,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute. “Following the hottest Summer on record, it commonplace to hear older Australians claim Summers aren’t what they use do be. And they are right.”
The full report can be accessed here.
Source: The Australia Institute